Looking for the perfect side dish? These roasted leeks, made in a creamy garlic sauce and seasoned to perfection with thyme and Parmigiano are an unexpected treat. Serve them proudly next to any meat or fish entrée as a delicious accompaniment to your meal.
One of the best things about this recipe, besides how delicious it is, is that it does not require your attention at the last minute. Why is that important? Because you can concentrate on your main dish and pull this out of the oven when it’s time to serve.
These creamy leeks will undoubtedly grab the attention and tastes of your onion-loving guests.
If possible, when making this recipe, try choosing leeks that are all about the same size.
What Are Leeks?
Leeks are alliums (a genus of flowering plants) that are closely related to onions, garlic, shallots and chives. Leeks are known for their sweet, oniony flavor.
Leeks are so versatile in the kitchen, they can be caramelized like onions in a frying pan, roasted (baked) in the oven like this recipe, fried, braised or boiled. Preparing leeks with complementary flavors such as basil, thyme, lemon, parsley and sage really allows their flavor to stand out.
Worth mentioning are the health benefits of leeks as they are rich in flavonoids (antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, and anticancer properties), especially one known as kaempferol.
Overall, leeks taste like a milder version of an onion, but much less intense with a sweeter more delicate flavor. The white and lighter green middle part of leek are utilized in cooking while the green tops are cut off and traditionally discarded. If you want to use the green tops you can by sautéing them for an extended amount of time on the stove top.
How To Cook Leeks
As mentioned before, there are so many ways to cook and enjoy leeks.
If you’re not making this baked leeks recipe, slice the leeks lengthwise and slice the leeks crosswise from there. Sauté them in butter or oil and add them to your favorite pasta dish. If you enjoy a little bit of oniony flavor in your mashed potatoes, stir the sautéed leeks into your mashed potatoes.
Growing leeks requires that soil is piled up around them. This allows most of the leeks main body to be hidden from the sunshine, and therefore resulting in leeks that are lighter in color and more tender.
While this growing method produces long and pale bodied leeks (which is what we want), lots of dirt can be lodged deep inside the leek so cleaning them properly is an important aspect of the process.
GET THE FULL (PRINTABLE) RECIPE FOR CREAMY ROASTED LEEKS BELOW. ENJOY!
More Vegetable Side Dishes
- Cucumbers with Mint Vinaigrette
- Fresh Creamed Corn
- Cucumber Edamame Salad
- Roasted Asparagus with Bacon
- 5-Minute Spicy Lemon Broccoli
- Fresh Green Beans with Bacon and Shallots
- Smoky Turnip and Parsnip Gratin
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The Best Creamy Roasted Leeks
- 1 tsp butter
- kosher salt
- 8 medium-large leeks (ideally with several inches of white)
- 2 tsp lightly chopped fresh thyme
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 large cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
- 1/3 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Preheat oven to 350o F.
- Rub the bottom of a shallow 10 x 15 dish (or similar) baking dish with butter. Sprinkle salt to lightly cover the bottom of the pan.
- Cut the dark green portion and all but 1″ of the light green off the top of the leeks. Peel away any tough or damaged outer leaves. Trim the ends by cutting the roots very close to the edge. Cut each leek in half lengthwise. Gently wash each half under running water and rinse as thoroughly as possible.
- Pat the leeks very dry (you don’t want extra liquid) and arrange them cut side down in the baking dish. They should all fit snugly but if they are crowded, turn a few on their sides. Sprinkle thyme and a little more salt over the leeks.
- Heat the cream and garlic in a small saucepan over high heat. As soon as the cream comes to a rolling boil (watch carefully and don’t let it boil over the pan), remove the pan from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Pour the cream and garlic evenly over the leeks.
- Cover the leeks with a piece of parchment cut to fit inside the pan. Bake the leeks until the thickest ends are tender all the way through when pierced with a paring knife and the cream is almost entirely reduced, about 35-45 minutes. Sprinkle the leeks with cheese and salt to taste. Bake just until cheese melts, 1-2 minutes. Transfer the leeks to a warm serving platter.
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